SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched Season 1, Episode 8 of Disney Plus’ “WandaVision.”
Whoa, baby (witch)! In the penultimate episode of the truly wild, labyrinthine ride through television’s past that “WandaVision” has turned out to be, we found out that Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) wasn’t just “a baby witch obsessed with sitcoms and years of therapy behind her” through the ever-scathingly honest magical-girl-next-door Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn), she’s also “a being capable of spontaneous creation.”
Finally, nearly six years after the Maximoff twins’ introduction in “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Wanda’s superhero name was uttered for the first time in the MCU: The Scarlet Witch.
But, why exactly was the sorceress using the occult to… play the perfect suburban sitcom housewife and “make breakfast for dinner?” In Episode 8 of the Disney Plus series, aptly titled “Previously On,” we get a glimpse of the who and the what and the whys behind the radiated bubble that ensnared thousands of New Jersey residents in Wanda’s dangerous experimental therapy method of choice: warping reality beyond recognition to stay in denial.
The episode explains a ton, including why Wanda’s accent has been so inconsistent, why she wound up in WestView of all towns, some of Agatha’s backstory, a chronological timeline of Wanda’s grief and trauma building and caving in on itself and on her. But, there are still a bunch of burning questions left that, hopefully, will be answered in the season finale.
Who is Señor Scratchy? Hardcore Marvel Comics fans know that Agatha can typically be spotted when she’s up to her wizardry shenanigans with a black cat named Ebony. While that may seem like the feline is only fulfilling the witch’s familiar stereotype, Ebony is so much more than that: she can transform into a ferocious panther, if necessary. In the comics, Ebony is later forced to eat a petal of a plant with supernatural powers, the Wundagore Everbloom, in order to see the future through its petals — and then Agatha eats her own cat to get a taste of those powers for herself. Devouring your pets might be a little too creepy for the TV-14 crowd, but nonetheless, it could happen (or maybe already happened — remember Sparky and that bogus excuse for his death?
Ebony could be Señor Scratchy — transformed into each and every animal thus far seen in the series (storks, cicadas, lobsters, fluffy holland lops), or the critter could be a convenient shroud for a character with more sinister motives. In the comics, Agatha has a powerful warlock son with a whacky mustache named Nicholas Scratch. Nicholas has extradimensional powers as well as abilities on par with his mother’s, and has been allied not only with Mephisto, who many have theorized has something to do with the antics behind “WandaVision” and is in cahoots with the necromancing nosy neighbour, but also with Dormammu. Remember that apocalyptic guy/cosmic entity?! Last we saw of him/it, Doctor Strange was annoying Dormammu into submission in the Sorcerer Supreme’s standalone film.
But, who knows! This is the MCU. Señor Scratchy could just be another hapless victim of Wanda’s sitcom prison and had the bonus misfortune of falling into the clutches of Agatha. Shrug.
Who and where is “Fietro”? (And what has he done with Monica Rambeau/Photon?) Ever since Peter Maximoff from 21st Century Fox’s “X-Men” franchise stepped into the scene as the fast-talking “broham-in-law” and fast-footed twin of Wanda, there have been many speculations made on who (or what) Peter/Pietro (Evan Peters) actually was. Agatha gave it away — kind of. He was a fake, a Fietro if you will. But then, of whom exactly was he a transformation? It appeared that Agatha could not resurrect anyone (a limitation she indicated when she told Wanda that her actual brother is full of holes, which, yikes). So, who was in the body of Fietro?
The easiest answer would, perhaps, be a Skrull since they’re the extraterrestrial shapeshifters with which MCU watchers are most familiar: they were first formally debuted in “Captain Marvel” and will be the green beings on which the upcoming Disney Plus show “Secret Invasion” will focus. The less easy answers would be some other villain — The Grimm Reaper? Mephisto? Nightmare? Chthon?! — or a more complex Marvel Comics figure with canonical ties to Vision and Wanda, like Wonder Man.
However, at this point, we’re more concerned about where Fietro took Monica (Teyonah Parris). Hopefully the Maximoff imposter gets its butt whooped by a superpowered Photon.
Are Oleg and Irina Maximoff the couple we’ve been seeing in the meta-commercials? Even though Oleg and Iryna were played by different actors (Daniyar and Ilana Kohanchi, respectively) in this episode than those in the season-long spots that advertise Easter egg products, it would make sense that Wanda’s equally-as-sitcom-obsessed Sokovian guardians were transmuted into her new world as another coping mechanism for her complex PTSD and all-encompassing grief.
Was that “bad dream” line just a throwaway? A child-aged Wanda (Michaela Russell) was snapped out of her favorite “Dick Van Dyke” episode, “It May Look Like a Walnut” (and her innocence), when an air raid strike using Stark-brand bombs blew her parents into oblivion.
Hiding underneath debris with her brother for more than two days, as she told Agatha, Wanda saw “Dick Van Dyke” still playing on the TV set. She exclaimed that one of the reasons she loves the sitcom genre so much is because, “At the end of the episode, you realize it was all a bad dream. None of it was real.”
Was this just a throwaway line to provide more context for Wanda’s unusual choice in therapeutic methods, or was it a line that serves as yet another hint that Nightmare, the omnipresent supervillain ruler of the “Dream Dimension” in Marvel Comics, is one of the evildoers linked up with Agatha? Nightmare is one of Doctor Strange’s and Ghost Rider’s major archnemesis, so he’s bound to show up at some point in the MCU — the question is when, and whether that will be before the end of “WandaVision.”
Does Wanda see a vision of herself from the future (or is it Natalya Maximoff from the past)? During one of the eighth episode’s flashback scenes, young Wanda was in mad HYDRA scientist Baron Wolfgang von Str?cker’s lab, being seemingly enchanted by Loki’s Chitauri Scepter, the original containment vessel of the Mind Stone (which was disguised as the Space Stone, fka The Tesseract). Str?cker acknowledged that no single experiment participant ever survived the encounter with the scepter, but he appeared confident in Wanda’s capacity to handle being essentially possessed by an Infinity Stone. For the most part, he was right: Wanda’s presence unearthed the Mind Stone within, and it was at this moment that it appeared Wanda’s burgeoning witch powers were amplified by the yellow gem.
The full details of her origin story, which is quite convoluted in the comics, have yet to be unraveled for the “WandaVision” audience, but Wanda did see the silhouette of the Scarlet Witch as she absorbed the Mind Stone. She may have seen herself in the future, or one of her possible biological mother figures in the comics aka Natalya Maximoff, the previous iteration of the Scarlet Witch. Whoever that glowing apparition was might point to a neater origin story for the Class 5 Omega Mutant down the line. (For the “X-Men” uninitiated, that means a powerful-as-heck mutant.)
Who burnt down the house? There was not so much as even a hint as to who would have wanted to mess with the titular odd couple’s sweet love story that, at least up to this point in the MCU’s narratives, had not been fully realized given the gruesome, untimely shut-down of Vision (Paul Bettany) in the literal hands of Thanos. But, certainly, as Avengers they had their fair share of enemies — known and shown onscreen.
What does the introduction of Chaos Magic mean for the Scarlet Witch’s origin story and for the MCU? Given that the eighth episode concluded on a cliffhanger wherein Agatha began talking about Chaos Magic and its link to the Scarlet Witch, the finale episode will likely pick up the thread of this wild reality-warping manipulation ability that Arch-Demon Chthon, a wicked Marvel Comics Elder God capable of causing insurmountable destruction, bestowed on Wanda as a newborn. Chthon, in the comics, intervenes and heightens the power locked within, which allows her to alter the fabric of time and existence beyond recognition and comprehension. After Episode 8, it looks like Chthon might be the Even Bigger Bad joined at the hip with Agatha. Whoever that malefactor ends up being, though, the cameo reveal may be on-par with the Luke Skywalker plot-twist in the finale of “The Mandalorian” given cryptic comments that both Bettany and Olsen have made during interviews about “WandaVision.”
What or who is White Vision? In another flashback vignette during the episode, Wanda confronted S.W.O.R.D. Acting Director Tyler Hayward (Josh Stamberg). Hayward, who has proven in episodes past to be an antagonist and highly suspicious of anyone superpowered or alien, challenged Wanda’s desire to carry out Vision’s wishes in the event of his death, snarkily remarking her, “Not everyone has the kind of power that could bring their soulmate back online.” Wanda responded that she didn’t have the power to do that, but guess who apparently did?
That’s right — it was Hayward and his S.W.O.R.D. goons! In the end-credits scene, an eerie Vision with bleach-white eyes — a colorless and emotionless husk of what the Avenger once was — was rebooted, so to speak. How Vision and his $3 billion-worth-of-vibranium body will be employed by Hayward is unknown, but it doesn’t seem that it’ll lead to any good.
It may be optimistic but, given all the burning questions yet to be answered this late in the series, the concluding episode seems sure to be one that will change the course of the MCU and its past, present and future characters and phases, forever.
“WandaVision” streams its season finale, Episode 9, Friday on Disney Plus.